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HEMM Black Wharton Conference Credit: Amanda Suarez , Amanda Suarez

Each year, students attend the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association’s Howard E. Mitchell Memorial Conference as a first step towards securing a competitive summer internship or job through on-campus recruiting.

Black Wharton aims to assist business-minded students from across Penn’s undergraduate schools in achieving successful careers. HEMM, which took place Thursday and Friday last week in Huntsman Hall, is the organization’s flagship event and represents the culmination of a yearlong effort.

“Our organization … provides professional development and internship opportunities to a wide variety of students,” said Wharton junior Marcus Hawkins-Dungey, Black Wharton vice president of corporate development and co-chair of the HEMM conference.

These opportunities include community service initiatives and more academically-oriented events aimed at helping students succeed in the classroom. Black Wharton also organizes a variety of networking, resume and etiquette workshops.

At the HEMM conference, students have a chance to network with successful alumni and recruiters from corporations at a dinner reception, career fair and celebratory luncheon. Students also attend a panel discussion with representatives from Black Wharton’s sponsors.

“HEMM Con is … like game time,” Hawkins-Dungey said. “You have your resumes nicely reviewed and revised … You get to utilize those networking tips and tools that we have.”

Relationships that begin at the conference can sometimes indirectly lead to summer internships and job offers. Many of the recruiters behind the tables are Black Wharton alumni or even current seniors who secured a job after a successful internship.

College senior Chris Russell built a relationship with two alumni recruiters from Microsoft at the conference last year, which led to an internship the following summer at the company, and then a job offer.

He believes that “having someone who knows who you are and what you are looking for in terms of a career” at Microsoft helped him secure the position.

At the conference, he was behind the Microsoft table, talking with other students about his internship experience and urging them to consider a career at the company.

Students who are still on the lookout for the perfect internship appreciate that current Penn students and alumni often act as recruiters.

“It makes goals feel very tangible because these people were once in your shoes,” College junior Azani Pinkney said.

Nineteen companies sponsored the event, sending a total of about 40 recruiters. Representatives from large banks, consulting firms, tech companies and non-profit organizations attended the conference.

This year, BlackRock, Prudential and Gap joined the ranks of Black Wharton’s sponsors, attending the conference for the first time.

“We really try to reach a broad array of students,” said Wharton senior Jarrid Tingle, president of Black Wharton. “Not just those who are interested in finance and consulting but also kids who are in the College doing history but could find something worthwhile here.”

Conference organizers believe that the talent of their membership keeps long-time sponsors coming back year after year.

Deirdre McShea attended the conference representing Teach For America. She said the organization is looking for future leaders in education reform rather than a student from a specific major.

“Being involved with the HEMM conference allows us to meet with students who have these qualities,” she said.

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